Here is one last reader question for Lisa, on trying to have your chocolate cake and eat it too!
Q: Is there any realistic way to cut calories in chocolate desserts and not truly sacrifice the experience of eating? For example, is using half & half instead of cream when making ganache considered completely sacrilegious?
Following this line of thinking, what kind of alterations to you make to your recipes when health is a concern (diabetics, food allergies, etc)?
A: Calories! Oh my! I use butter, heavy cream--and the rest of the good stuff--without exception, believing that a well-conceived dessert that bakes correctly and tastes authentic is worth eating, even in a small portion.
While it is certainly not sacrilegious to make substitutions, what you end up with would probably result in a different texture, with variable results, so instead of cutting my 9-inch pan of brownies into 16 squares, you could certainly make 32 miniature squares and dredge them in a confectioners' sugar-cocoa mixture to make teeny trufflelike confections. Good ingredients--especially chocolate of all intensities and percentages--are expensive, so it's a good idea to use them at their fullest taste.
Having said that, a colleague of mine, Alice Medrich, wrote a wonderful book called CHOCOLATE AND THE ART OF LOW-FAT DESSERTS (Warner Books,1994); it is worth having if your chocolate baking takes you into the territory of juggling calories and great taste.
Regarding alterations to recipes: medical variations in my recipes are not offered.
(PS: I would not advise you to use half-and-half in your ganache--it would skew the finished texture [emulsion]).
Thank you Lisa!
(Image credits: ChocolateChocolate cover photo and author photo both by Ben Fink. Cover design by Vertigo Design, NYC.)